Purpose: We studied the association of smoking with lower urinary tract symptoms.
Materials and methods: In 1994 we performed a population based study by mailing a questionnaire to all 3,143 men born in 1924, 1934 or 1944 who resided in Tampere, or in 11 rural or semirural municipalities in the same county. Of this population 68% were ultimately included in the study. A modified Danish Prostate Symptom Score-1 was used to assess urinary symptoms and associated bothersomeness. A symptom index was created by multiplying the symptom and bothersomeness scores of hesitancy, incomplete emptying, urge, urge incontinence, nocturia and daytime frequency, and totaling the products. The index for lower urinary tract symptoms was defined as positive when it reached 7 points. Subjects were also asked whether they had smoked for at least a year, and they were defined as smoking currently, formerly and never according to the response.
Results: Compared with respondents who never smoked age adjusted odds ratios were 1.47 (95% confidence interval 1.09 to 1.98) and 1.38 (1.08 to 1.78), respectively, for those who currently and formerly smoked. After further adjusting for alcohol consumption, body mass index, previous prostate surgery, pelvic area surgery, prostate cancer and bladder cancer, the odds ratios for current and former smokers were 1.39 (95% confidence interval 1.02 to 1.93) and 1.34 (1.03 to 1.75), respectively.
Conclusions: Smoking increases the prevalence of lower urinary tract symptoms. The similarity in the odds ratios of these symptoms between current and former smokers suggests that changes caused by smoking occur long term or the pathological process resulting in symptoms starts early in smokers. The decreased risk of lower urinary tract symptoms after the cessation of smoking suggests that the process is reversible but recovery is a long-term process.